Tim Muddiman & The Strange – Paradise Runs Deeper

Tim Muddiman & The Strange – Paradise Runs Deeper

Tim Muddiman might wonder exactly why he has had to utilise crowd funding to release Paradise Runs Deeper, although at least some of the reasons for this are a result of his own decisions. With a musical pedigree that stretches back about three decades, the former Pop Will Eat Itself member and Gary Numan sideman may also consider why it’s taken so long to get his current band project off the ground, although as a former producer at EMI, guitar shop owner and music critic, I get an idea that it has actually taken this long for Tim Muddiman to make the album he actually wants to. One that has a lot of the energy and sense of enjoyment from making music that perhaps stems from his early career, as part of a scene that gave us bands such as The Wonder Stuff and Carter USM. Plus, for hardcore Numan aficianados it’s notable that much of the music on Paradise Runs Deeper has an audible connection to Numan too, a mid-paced techno sound that’s instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with it.

This isn’t an entirely electronic affair though. Tim Muddiman has spent twelve years as guitarist with the Numan band and while the influence carries over, the songs appear to have originated as six-string rather than keyboard-based compositions taking cues from the various others his own career has interlinked with. Paradise Runs Deeper is a collection of gritty electronic blues rock as well as something of a reappraisal of the sounds from some well-regarded UK bands of the ’80s and ’90s. Opening track “Bullet Stroke” sets the pace with its combination of industrial rhythms and some resonantly sharp guitar riffs, plus a touch of some of the barely restrained chaos that PWEI were renowned for. Third track “Glass Queen” is the lead single and while the Numan influence is definitely present, there’s a lot more happening in a song that seems purpose written for a high-gloss MTV show.

“Damage Is Done” sees Tim Muddiman making a nod in the direction of both Depeche Mode and Radiohead with a ballad type song that takes a loud/quiet route between its verse and chorus, played to convincing effect by The Strange, about whom I have practically zero information. Does Tim Muddiman play all the instruments on the album? He wouldn’t be the first musician to take this approach to making exactly the music he wanted to, and maybe he also designed the colourful, slightly creepy cover art. Certainly, by the time last track “Wildwood Blue Stone” rolls around there isn’t any doubt that whatever has gone into its making, the dark although not entirely bleak songs on Paradise Runs Deeper, with their mix of old-school indie and bluesy atmospherics, might lead a few people to make those Pledge Music donations that would help Tim Muddiman’s music get the audience it requires.

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